Tanzania National Main Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. It opened in 2007 and was built adjacent to Uhuru Stadium, the former national stadium. It hosts major football matches such as the Tanzanian Premier League and home matches of the Tanzania national football team.
With 60,000 seats it is the eleventh largest stadium in Africa and the largest stadium in Tanzania. It is owned by the Tanzanian Government. The stadium was built by Beijing Construction Engineering Group at a cost of $56 million.
In 2000, President Benjamin Mkapa promised to build a state of the art stadium before the end of his tenure in 2005; saying that it was shameful for the country not to have a modern arena. In January 2003, the government announced a tender for the construction of a new stadium to replace the dilapidated Uhuru Stadium. Sports Minister Juma Kapuyasaid that the government had set a budget of $60 million and eleven companies had bid for the project.
In 2004, Vinci Construction, a French company won the tender with a bid of $154 million. Under pressure from theBretton Woods Institutions, Tanzania reluctantly abandoned the project as it had received debt relief under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Program. Deborah Brautigam in her book The Dragon's Gift: The Real Story of China in Africawrites, "To the Bretton Woods Institutions, building a modern stadium in a poor country with an annual per capita income of $330 seemed a bit like the Romans building a new Coliseum with the barbarians camped outside the city wall."
In June 2004, Foreign Minister Jakaya Kikwete signed a $56 million contract with the Chinese Government, who provided a grant of about $20 million. A Chinese Embassy official described it as a "special aid project". Beijing Construction Engineering Group was awarded the contract. The International Monetary Fund objected that the cost had not been included in the country's annual Public Expenditure Review to its major donors.
In June 2006, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao paid a visit to the construction site. The Daily News reported that Tanzania contributed TSh 25 billion of the total cost of TSh 56.4 billion. In September 2007, the stadium hosted theGroup 7 qualifying match between Taifa Stars and the Mozambican team for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations.
It served as the end point for the 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay in Dar es Salaam. Tanzania was the torch's only stop on the African continent. The stadium was inaugurated by Chinese President Hu Jintao and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete during the former's state visit to Tanzania in February 2009.
Phase Two of the project will entail the construction of an indoor stadium, warm-up ground and a sports village/college